tv The News Hour With Jim Lehrer PBS October 29, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
>> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. on the newshour this thursday, the lead story-- good news numbers on the economy. jeffrey brown checks the outlook in different parts of the country. then, after the other news of the day, betty ann bowser details the house democrats' plan for health care reform; margaret warner reports from lahore, pakistan, a city on edge after terror attacks. judy woodruff talks to matthew hoh, the foreign service officer who resigned in protest of the afghan war; and ray suarez tells the story of professional football players now suffering from dementia. >> his neurologist asked him "have you ever had concussions?" and he said "oh, too many to count." major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by:
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wells fargo advisors. together, we'll go far. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: the u.s. economy is growing again for the first time in more than a year. the government reported new numbers today that showed expansion in the third quarter. that touched off a big rally on wall street, with the dow jones industrial average gaining 200 points. at the same time, there were continuing questions about the employment picture. jeffrey brown has our lead story
report. >> brown: the news came a year after the financial meltdown touched off the deepest recession in 70 years. the commerce department announced the gross domestic product grew by 3.5% from july through september, marking an end to four straight quarters of decline. but there were caveats: much of the growth depended on government spending-- for new cars under "cash for clunkers," and new homes, aided by a temporary tax credit for first- time home buyers. >> i think the u.s. economy is out of recession. i still want to see some positive employment numbers, though. that's what really counts for people.@ñ and remember, about half the increase in the third quarter just came from cars, from that "cash for clunkers" program. >> brown: in fact, today's news about jobs was mixed. first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, even as the overall number of people relying on those benefits continued to drop. for his part, president obama welcomed word of growth, but
said joblessness is still a major obstacle to full recovery. >> we've got a long way to go to fully restore our economy and recover from what's been the longest and deepest downturn since the great depression. and while this report today represents real progress, the benchmark i use to measure the strength of our economy is not just whether our gdp is growing, but whether we're creating jobs, whether families are having an easier time paying their bills, whether our businesses are hiring and doing well. >> brown: as the president spoke, a bill to extend benefits for many of the unemployed was before the senate. but majority leader harry reid complained wrangling over other issues was delaying action. >> we've got to get the unemployment done. we have a million people that are waiting for that money. >> brown: in the meantime, the administration faced questions about just how many jobs its stimulus programs are creating or saving. the government claimed 30,000 jobs in its initial counting, but the associated press
reported a review of contracts shows that number is at least 5,000 too high. the white house said it's correcting early mistakes, but believes the a.p. account "draws on misleading conclusions from a handful of examples." but there was no dispute on the floor of the stock exchange. the stronger-than-expected report on gdp broke a four-day slide. the dow jones industrial average closed at 9,962, gaining 2% in value for the day. the nasdaq rose nearly that much, gaining 38 points to close at 2,097. so, how do these latest economic numbers square with what people are seeing around the country? we get some quick snapshots from three regions today. shirley leung is the business editor of "the boston globe;" diane swonk, chief economist at mesirow financial, a diversified financial services firm in chicago; and william conerly, an economist who runs his own consulting firm in portland, oregon.
diane swonk, i'll start with you. let's start with the good news of the g.d.p. growth. what do you see in your region that supports that? >> well, the one piece of good news is the return in exports. the rise in exports. the likes of caterpillar and john deere were hit very hard by the recession, but companies are starting to show d.w.i. dance that they have orders picked up. they've started to call back some workers, employment is still a major problem here than elsewhere. but that's clearly a light at the end of the tunnel because the export side of our manufacturing sector is going to do much better than the auto side as we e tphrerpblg this recession. >> brown: that's connected to other reports we've seen where overseas some countries are doing better, right? >> absolutely. in fact, the developing nations in particular, they need the kind of equipment that we build to build roads and develop and also to develop their agricultural infrastructure. so all of that is feeding into profits in this region. not a lot of jobs but those profits come right through chicago'sable if services center
which is very important to us here in chicago and and that will create some jobs. >> brown: william conerly, what do you see? let's start on the good side of the equation here. what do you see? >> well, sometimes when we look at a region we're seeing things that are very distinctive and a region has its own dynamic. what we're seeing right now is the same story, it's a global downturn and the beginning of a global recovery and you walk into the malls in the western states, it's pretty much the same thing, housing prices starting to turn up from a very low bottom. so we in the west are seeing the up turn but it's just the very beginnings and we haven't dug ourself out of the hole that we were in as a result of the recession. >> reporter: are there key sectors or industries in particular that you could point to or are that are your weather veins for seeing what's going on? >> well, up in seattle they keep an eye on aircraft orders and we're seeing in general businesses are starting to look
at spending money on new equipment. they're not spending a lot, but we're seeing a turnaround in attitudes on that. the wood products industry has been very important here, but there's no sign of strength yet because of the housing weakness. but i think the biggest thing as diane mentioned is exports are strong and the west coast is very important for exports. those consumers, i think what is happening is people have been saving money for a year and they're saying "wow, i guess i dodge add bullet, we're not getting laid off." those who aren't laid off. and maybe now it's time to get a new pair of shoes, a new car, or a new computer. >> brown: shirley leung, i understand you just finish add big series on the regional economy. what were the key points? what were the key findings? >> well, the key findings is that massachusetts economy is in a fragile recovery. but it's going to be a jobless recovery. it is quite frightening.
over the next year, production of goods ands afters will increase by 2%. but we're going to continue to shed about 37,000 jobs. and today, as the nation's economy reported, i guess, great numbers, here in massachusetts, our economy actually shrunk about by 1.1%. and that came as a bit of a surprise to economists here and, frankly, to us who have been reporting this story because we really thought that our economy had come out of recession over the summer. our tech companies are well into recovery and they're doing better and everything seems to be stabilizing but it seems like things are a little bit slower than we had thought. >> brown: you got your wire there, shirley? >> sorry. i've got to find my wire. >> brown: i'll let you fix that. let me go on to diane swank. i wanted to ask you about the... well, shirley just started the question of the jobless recovery. we heard the president talk about it, we hear it over and
over that even as things get to look better it doesn't feel that way for most people as long as unemployment remains high. how does that play out where you are? >> that's absolutely true. in fact, even as manufacturing comes back, remember productivity growth is so strong they're not adding many more workers, if any more workers. they don't even have to add production shifts to increase productions here in the midwest. so you're not getting jobs back even as the numbers go positive. also the other issue is context. 3.5% growth given the declines that we've seen, the severe contraction we've seen, particularly for the midwest, we'd need to see at least double that to really have it materialize in any kind of meaningful job growth in early to 10. so i think we'll see very marginal job growth. we're seeing small businesses in particular complain that much of their credit was through consumer home ec. wety lines of credit and that is dried up on them. and they're the major generator of jobs, even here in the midwest. so given that that's not going to be there, that means a very slow trickle of jobs returning. >> brown: william conerly, how
does the job picture look where you are? >> well, we're still losing jobs in virtually all of the western states. a couple are just starting to flatten out. but it's pretty grim. i think it's important to remember what we economists think of what we say recession. we're thinking of the downward period. and we're at a stage right now where we are nowhere close to the previous peak, but because we've turned up, we economists are saying we're out of recession. but the man and woman are the street are saying heck, no, we're still in a recession. and i think it's going to be about another year before we get the economy growing enough that the people... everyday people will say, yeah, we're out of recession. >> brown: so... i'm sorry, go ahead. >> i'm more optimistic on the job creation because as i visit my clients, they've really cut their labor force back. and if they get much in the way of an increase in orders, they're going to have to start spending more money on labor and spending more money on raw materials. so i think this economy could swing into a stronger positive a
little faster than we think. >> brown: shirley, are you back, can you hear me? >> i'm back! (laughs). >> brown: okay. thanks. another issue that of course is on the table is to what extent the growth that we're seeing comes from government programs, right? rescue or stimulus programs. >> right. right. >> brown: and what happens as those begin to fade away or get taken off the table. how much has that played a role where you are and what are the fears going forward? >> well, i think that, you know, stimulus definitely played a role, and particularly cash for clunkers and the positive g.d.p. growth. i think it's a big question mark that what will happen in the next quarter. i don't think i'm going out on a limb. i predict the next quarter we'll see the economy will probably go back into recession, or the numbers will probably go back into a recession. we're probably still in a recession. i just wanted to point out what's happening in massachusetts.
you know, yesterday the governor here announced that we had about $2 billion of stimulus money, created about 9,000 jobs. feels great. then today he's announcing that the state will have to lay off a thousand jobs. so it seems that we take one step forward and one step back. so when the stimulus money runs out, i think that we're going to have some problems with continuing unemployment. >> brown: so you see the shifts that quickly? day by day? >> yes. >> brown: diane, you... i mean, cash for clunkers clearly helped the midwest region, right? >> it was huge in creating production. there's no question. and, in fact, what i think it did is it stopped many companies that were hanging by their fingernails in terms of going into bankruptcy in the auto industry from actually falling into bankruptcy. so that's important because it's mitigating losses. but it really underscores the point of where the government has played the role here. it's played a role in mitigating losses. it's averted a great depression, number two, but we did have a
great recession and it's still a depressing economy. >> brown: and william conerly, our last minute, how do you see this government stimulus programs affecting now and in the future? >> yeah, i think that the government stimulus had a smaller effect than a lot of people are thinking. it gets a lot of attention and there's a lot of flag waving around it, but monetary policy from the federal reserve has been very, very positive but there's a long time lag. i think that has been kicking in. and, you know, most of the stimulus dollars have not been spent yet by the end of the third quarter. it's weighted more h +*efly to 2010. the real question in my mind going forward is when does the fed start tightening and are they going to overtighten and i'm a little bit nervous about the prospect of maybe we go into another cycle in 201 is or to 12. >> couric: we'll leave it there, william conerly, shirley leung and diane swonk, thank you all three. >> thank you.
>> lehrer: our "patchwork nation" project is tracking signs of improvement in 12 communities around the country. that's on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. in other news today, iran gave a formal answer to a draft agreement about its nuclear program. but there was no indication of a breakthrough. newshour correspondent kwame holman narrates our report. >> holman: iran gave no indication today it is ready to agree fully to the plan to ship most of its potential nuclear fuel overseas. the proposal was drafted last week in talks between mohammed el-baradei of the international atomic energy agency, plus iran, russia, the u.s. and france. the u.s. and others want the iranians to send 70% of their low-enriched uranium to russia. that could delay any attempt by iran to generate enough fuel for a nuclear weapon for at least a year.
in the meantime, the material processed in russia would work in a research reactor, but not in weapons. but news accounts varied on whether iran wants to keep all or some of its uranium, and enrich it there under u.n. supervision. in a speech, the iranian president, mahmoud ahmadinejad, insisted his government "will not retreat" on its right to develop nuclear power. but he said the international talks have shown progress. >> ( translated ): once, they were saying that you should shut down the nuclear activities, but today, they have expressed their readiness to cooperate with us in fuel exchange, developing nuclear technology, building plants and nuclear reactors. they have moved from confrontation to interaction. >> holman: the response in washington was cautious. state department spokesman ian kelly: >> there is complete unity among the three parties here... or the
four parties-- the u.s., france, russia and the iaea-- that this is a sound agreement. it's balanced and answers the needs and concerns of all parties, and so we'll work with dr. el baradei and see what kind of clarifications we get from the iranians. >> holman: and france said it wanted to see iran "respond clearly and positively". >> lehrer: iran has consistently denied its goal is to build nuclear weapons. it says it wants to develop commercial nuclear power to generate electricity. president obama made a surprise overnight trip to salute americans killed in afghanistan this week. in pre-dawn darkness, he took part in receiving the remains of 18 troops and civilians at dover air force base in delaware. mr. obama saluted as the casket of army sergeant dale griffin passed by. earlier this year, the president
relaxed an 18-year ban on letting cameras cover the transfers. hours later, at the white house, he spoke of the dover visit >> it was a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform are engaging in every single day. the burden that both our troops and our families bear in any wartime situation is going to bear on how i see these conflicts. and it is something that i think about each and every day. >> lehrer: the president is still considering whether to send more u.s. troops to afghanistan. "the washington post" reported today he's asked for information on which local afghan leaders are most effective. advisers said the information would help guide the decision on
war strategy and troop numbers. iraq announced the arrests of 61 military and security officials today in the wake of last sunday's bombings in baghdad. suicide car bombers killed 155 iraqis and wounded hundreds more. the attackers made it through a series of security checkpoints, and that provoked public outrage. those arrested were accused of negligence or involvement in the bombings. it was another long day in the western plains of the u.s., as an early season storm dumped more snow. parts of colorado and other states were buried under three feet of snow, forcing roads and schools to close. near denver, hundreds of flights were canceled at the city's international airport as crews worked to clear runways. but more snow was expected by nightfall. and still to come on the
newshour tonight: margaret warner from lahore, pakistan; a resignation over the war; and football players at risk. that follows the latest on health care reform. betty ann bowser reports from the capitol for our health unit, a partnership with the robert wood johnson foundation. >> reporter: flanked by fellow democrats and with the capitol dome as her backdrop... >> good morning. >> reporter: ... house speaker nancy pelosi today unveiled the long-awaited details of her party's health care reform bill. >> affordability to the middle class, security for our seniors, responsibility to our children. it reduces the deficit, meets president obama's call to keep the cost under $900 billion over ten years, and it insures 36 million more americans-- 36 million more. >> reporter: the house bill, a retooled version of three committee proposals, would cost an estimated $894 billion over
the next decade. it includes a government public insurance option; calls for a significant expansion of medicaid-- raising eligibility levels to 150% of the federal poverty level-- that's about $16,000 a year for individuals; requires nearly every american to sign up for health coverage by 2013; and mandates almost all employers offer coverage to their workers or face financial penalties. >> it covers 96% of all americans, and it puts affordable coverage in reach for millions of uninsured and underinsured families, lowering health care costs for all of us. >> reporter: the bill would create a new government- regulated insurance exchange where people and small businesses could shop for insurance from private companies or the government-run plan.
federal subsidies would be made available to help low-income people afford coverage. and under the legislation, insurance companies would be barred from denying coverage to americans with pre-existing conditions. money to pay for the overhaul would be raised through a combination of cuts in future medicare payments to providers and a 5.4% income tax surcharge to be levied on the wealthiest americans-- people making $500,000 a year and couples making $1 million. house republicans responded swiftly with criticism; none are expected to vote for the bill. ohio's john boehner is minority leader. >> this bill is pretty clear. it's going to raise the cost of american's health insurance. it's going to kill jobs with tax hikes and new mandates in it. and it's going to cut seniors' health care benefits. and if all that isn't bad enough, the... the mandates on
states will bankrupt what... what are already states that have huge financial problems today. >> reporter: speaker pelosi made several significant adjustments to make sure that it would get 218 democrat votes, the number she needs to pass on the house floor. a key change will allow doctors and hospitals to negotiate more favorable reimbursement rates with the government-run public option. one moderate democrat who once said he would never vote for a bill with a public option wasn't so sure which way he'd vote today. idaho's walt minnick: >> i'm still not a great fan of the public option. i do think it's important that whatever health bill we pass be affordable, reduce costs, and increase access, so that everyone will have the ability to get comprehensive, affordable health insurance. >> reporter: most liberal caucus members said they were
disappointed, but like new york's anthony weiner, they felt they had to compromise. >> it's not as strong as i would have liked, and i think some members of congress will have to explain why they wanted less competition, less choice, and more cost for taxpayer. but it's hard not to call the success of the public option a victory. >> reporter: there were some danger signs for pelosi. congressman raul grijalva co- chairs the democratic progressive caucus and said he still wants to see a more robust public option. disappointed enough to vote against? >> we'll ask the leadership. the answer is, i'm leaning no right now. that's just this individual. but the entire caucus will ask leadership to give us a vote up or down on robust public plan. we think that's important for that to be on the record, and for many americans who advocated for that, to let them have their day in the sun and see what happens. >> reporter: some republicans,
like michigan's dave camp, attacked the way the bill was put together. >> americans' health is too important and too complex to risk on one gigantic piece of legislation. and in the three months that they've been negotiating behind closed doors and in secret, they've added 1,000 pages to the bill that none of us have seen yet. obviously, we'll be looking through this in great detail in the next days that we have. >> onward to passing a bill in the congress! thank you. >> reporter: speaker pelosi expects to have the bill on the floor next week, and wants a final vote to come before veterans day on november 11. >> lehrer: there's a link to the full house bill on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. and we have extended interviews with two key republican senators, susan collins and olympia snowe, about what they would support. now, a pakistani city on edge
greets the visiting u.s. secretary of state. margaret warner reports from lahore, pakistan. >> warner: the streets of the market in lahore overflow with music, vendors hawking their wares and families gathering thes by i cans of daily life. pakistan's second largest city and the capital of its biggest province, punjab, has always been the country's most cultured and life-loving hub. but a change has come to lahore terrorism. and with it, a fear not known here before. the extremist violence once confined to pakistan's hinterland has penetrated its major cities, including lahore. the first major blow came earlier this year when members of a visiting sri lankan cricket team were gunned down in a bloody assault and just two weeks ago attackers struck a police training academy, killing 11 # officers and recruits.
aer in srous woman was in this market yet just after a suicide bombing in a similar market in peshawar killed more than 100. she said she had to be here. >> (translated): this is the first time i've left my house in ten days, but i had to come out to shop for my brother's wedding. >> reporter: across the alley, wedding fashion shopkeeper's sales are down 75%. >> (translated): the security situation has badly affected my sales. it is the wedding season now, but no one is coming to shop. >> warner: these attacks so close to home have trigger add sea change in lahore's attitude about the pakistani militants and the u.s.-led campaign against them says this editor of "the friday times." >> for a long time, the people from lahore were pakistanis who said "this is not our war, this is america's war." and therefore lahore was spared. but now lahore is is on the hit
list and there's been a spate of terrorist attacks which have made lahore low. with that result, public opinion is now changing and they now see this as their war. >> reporter: so when secretary of state hillary clinton arrived here today, she found a city transformed-- on edge and in virtual lockdown. the motorcade of unmarked vehicles without american flags took her along a route cleanly swept by hundreds of security personnel. she laid a wreath at the memorial to the poet philosopher who inspired pakistan's founding and she admired the blend of islamic, sikh, and anglo indian architecture in the soaring mosques. but her planned visit to lahore's world famous suit think shrine was scrubbed for fear of attack. in a day of meetings with lahore's leaders in civil society, government, media, and business, clinton laid out the promising future that more u.s. assistance and economic and
social engagement could help bring. but in a session with students at the government college of lahore, she was challenged repeatedly about sore points in the u.s./pakistani relationship. >> what can the americans give pakistan that we can now trust you-- not you, but like americans, this time of your sincerity and that you guys are not going to be betraying us like the americans did in the past when they wanted to destabilize the russians. >> i think that it's a fair criticism that after we worked together to drive the soviet union out of afghanistan there was such a sense of success and relief on the part of the government-- our government then-- that we did not follow through the way that we should have. >> warner: another asked her about the carrie kerry/lugar aid
bill who people say impinge on their sovereignty. >> the purpose of the bill was to help pakistan, that was our intention, that was our motivation. >> >> warner: the last student suggested his country is suffering terrorist attacks because the u.s. has pressured pakistan's government to mount offensives against the extremists. >> don't you think that hampers the democracy because now the u.s. is forcing pakistan to take actions which on the other hand we might not be willing to take? >> i think it was the pakistan government-- the democratically elected government, and the pakistan military-- who decided that it was intolerable for terrorist organizations to be seizing large chunks of territory of your country. >> warner: clinton's day in lahore was all about showing respect. this city's rich cultural and islamic character. and her words of praise for the lahori's resilience in the face of terror were welcome. but as she departed, she left behind a city that's settling in
for a long siege against a determined foe. >> we just received this fax that the government has closed off school, kindergartens, nurseries and play groups. >> warner: this woman runs several private schools in lahore which were shut by government ord they are month after suicide bombers struck a university in islamabad. she reopened her schools for older children after just three days. but though 80% of her students have returned to class, she says the damage has been done. >> oh, it has changed the city beyond recognition. you can't recognize some of the streets. you can't recognize some of the security arrangements. we've not had history of violence. when other cities in pakistan were suffering, we were fortunate enough to be spared. and so you know you don't... you really... it's a new experience for us.
>> warner: also new are the added security measures required of all pakistani schools. here, armed guards patrol the roof. after all these attacks, this woman, like many pakistanis, feels deep hostility toward the taliban and its terrorist allies >> it is cloaked in the language of faith. i think it has it will toll do with anybody's faith, because i cannot imagine any person of faith, of true belief and faith, doing something like this. >> warner: but doubts about the u.s. haven't changed as markedly, as was apparent in the differences heard in the corridors of punjab university. this first year student believes pakistan needs u.s. help in this struggle (our government and yours as well, we collaborate with each other, use your security agencies and overcome
this problem of terrorism in the region. >> reporter: but muhammad amin, member of the conservative religious party skwra maya islami was signing a referendum protesting the kerry/lugar referendum. >> there was not terror attacks in this area in pakistan, in afghanistan, but whenever any area of the world america arrives, there are attacks and so and so bomb blastings are started. >> warner: it's just these attitudes that secretary clinton hopes to begin to change. >> lehrer: margaret will interview secretary clinton tomorrow in pakistan. next tonight, we continue our ongoing conversations on afghanistan. tonight, it's with an official
dissenter to u.s. policy. judy woodruff's in charge. >> woodruff: after five months serving with the state department in afghanistan, matthew hoh became the first u.s. official known to resign in protest against american policies there. in his september 10th letter of resignation, revealed this week in "the washington post," the former marine captain said: "i fail to see the value or hoh's resignation was greeted more in sorrow than in anger by the state department. richard holbrooke said, quote: "we took his letter very seriously, because he was a good officer." mr. hoh joins us now. thank you for being here. so is it your view that the u.s. should just get out? >> of course it's impossible to wave a magic wand and be gone from there. however, i do believe we are involved in a 35-year-old civil
war. i believe we are not the lead character in tha war, that it's an internal conflict. i believe that 60,000 troops in afghanistan do not serve to defeat al qaeda and do not serve to stabilize the pakistan government. >> woodruff: what is it that has given you the confidence to know this? what did you see in afghanistan? >> sure. well, before i went, i studied quite a bit about it, i read a lot of its history, particularly the late '70s and the soviet/afghan war. additionally, i have many friends and colleagues who have served in afghanistan. i went there with some ideas that this didn't sit well with me about what we were doing there, but i wanted to contribute. when i got there, however, serving in the east and in the south, the similarities were the same. what i found, we were fighting people who were fighting us only because we're occupying them or because we are supporting a central government that they view as occupying them.
most importantly, i think i listened to as many afghans as possible because my role as a political advisor was to work with the afghan government as well as to work with as many local afghans as i could. >> woodruff: you say, matthew hoh, that what you see is a civil war going on, the u.s. is a bystander. what it looks like to many americans as they look is that it's the afghan government being attacked, the afghan people being attacked by the taliban, by elements of al qaeda. how do... how can we be sure which is right? >> sure. first of all, al qaeda does not exist in afghanistan. i think there's plenty of evidence to that fact. and the way the country works, it's so localized there. it's what i refer to and other people refer to as valleyism. >> woodruff: valleyism? >> yes. so if you take the idea of nationalism, shrink it down to a much smaller level. these are folks who live within communities of 100 to 500 people
and that's... i don't want to say where their world ends, but that's what they're concerned with. and they've never had a central government there that has done any good, that has delivered services to them. they've never had a central government that's brought them anything, only taken. sol to them whether it was the najibullah, the taliban, or the karzai government, they're all one in the same. and particularly in the east where they're fighting us and the south where they're fighting us, those folks there don't make up the people who are the central government. >> woodruff: so the argument, though, by... as you know, by general stanley mcchrystal who's in charge over there for the military, by john mccain who's very much in favor of the u.s. staying is that if the u.s. leaves, taliban takes over and al qaeda's going to come back. >> i don't believe al qaeda will come back. i believe that since 2001 al qaeda has evolved. they have turned into, as i like
to say, an ideological cloud that exists on the internet and recruits worldwide. they... if you look at the attacks that al qaeda has been successful with over the last seven, eight years, including conducted by afghans or pakistanis. and a lot of the preparation and training that took place in western europe or even here in the united states. so i don't think al qaeda has any interest in ever tying itself gone a geographical or political boundary. i think they're content to exist as they have evolved and they are a threat and they should be our priority, we need to defeat them. but, again, 60,000 troops in afghanistan does not defeat al qaeda. >> woodruff: what about the taliban? >> the taliban, we chased them out of power in 2001 like we rightly should have. however, what you have in quetta now, i believe, is just the remnants of that. and while the quetta shura
taliban, as we refer to them, the s a threat to the karzai government, i don't believe they're a threat to the united states and further more, i don't believe that they would be able to retake kabul particularly in shura if there's no pakistani support for them if we left afghanistan. >> woodruff: what do you think would happen, though, if president obama did give general mcchrystal the troops he wants or a significant increase in the number of troops? >> i believe it's going to fuel the insurgency. it's only going to reinforce claims by our enemies that we are an occupying power because we are an occupying power. and that will only fuel the insurgency. and that will only cause the more people to fight us or those fighting us continue to fight us. >> woodruff: you don't think there's any argument the u.s. can make to the afghan people that we're there to... as we have been, to promote democracy? that could change their view of what you say is... that we're an occupying force? >> i was up in... east of the
country, up in kunar and the nuristan area where we just lost eight soldiers a couple weeks ago. the brigade combat team that was there for a year, in one year's time, they dropped about a half million pounds of ordnance on the aircraft and they shot about 50,000 rounds of indirect fire and artillery. now, on the other hand, they all spent probably about 160 to $180 million in development money over the course of a year. this is in an area of 4.5 million people. if, after eight years of war, you've done these kinds of things and people aren't coming around, i don't think they're ever going to come around. i think we have to realize that sometimes people don't like us and don't want to be like us and we have to accept that and then we have to engage them politically and work with them that way. >> woodruff: one of the other points you make, matthew hoh, is about corruption in the karzai government. you were very blunt in writing that karzai is advised by drug lords and you went into some detail about that. the other argument, though, on that is that, well, that's just
endemic in that culture. that the u.s. has to be prepared to accept a certain amount of corruption when you're dealing with these people. >> i think that would be true if we weren't sacrificing our young men and women in support of that regime. the idea that we're losing somebody's son or somebody's husband is dying to support a regime that's profiting off of our aid money is criminal. it's wrong. and further more, you know, i know a lot of people speak about the taliban receiving financing through opium and everything. there are a lot of us who believe they receive just as much money through our own development money we're spending there. >> woodruff: last thing i want to ask you. some people have said it all sounds very good, but you were only there in afghanistan for five months, you're relatively young, what, 37? >> 36. >> woodruff: 36 years old. who are you to say what the
united states should be doing? when there are others who have been there longer, studied it for years. >> i wish people would refute what i'm saying. i've seen that criticism but i have not seen anyone tell me why it's not a civil war. i've not seen anyone tell me how stabilizing the afghan government will defeat al qaeda. i've not heard anyone tell me how keeping 60,000 troops or 80,000 or 100,000 troops in afghanistan will stabilize pakistan. so i haven't heard the answers to those questions. as for the chris schisms about my age or that i was only there for five months, i was there for five months, i was in two parts of the country, i worked with as many local people as i could and i listened as much as possible. at that point... what i wrote... first off, what i wrote in my resignation letter, there's not a novel or unique thought in that. those are thoughts shared by military officers and state department officers as well. my concern is not how are we fighting this war but why are we fighting this war. >> woodruff: matthew hoh,
thank you very much for coming in to talk with us. we appreciate it. >> thank you, judy. >> lehrer: there's more on afghanistan on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. we have a survey of afghans; it shows they feel more secure than they did a year ago. and you can watch a web-only video following a u.s. army lieutenant in the mountainous border area near pakistan. finally tonight, football's lasting impact on some of its players. ray suarez has our story. >> remember this jacket, honey? honey, stand up, look at me. he's smiling! he's got his hall of fame jacket on and he's smiling! >> suarez: john mackey probably doesn't remember the nfl hall of fame jacket he gave away when
dementia first gripped him ten years ago. but with the help of his wife sylvia, he tries to enjoy moments of nostalgia for his days a pro football receiver in the '60s and early '70s. today, the hall of famer, just 68 years old, is in assisted living, complete with a beeping security system to stop confused residents from wandering off. are there good days and bad days? >> yes. and great days and not so great days. >> suarez: on the good days, how is it different from what we're seeing now from mr. mackey? >> he'll get up and walk up and down. he'll throw and catch the ball. actually, today would be a good day if it weren't for the twitching-- they call it a jerk. >> suarez: and speech? >> he doesn't talk anymore, very rarely. >> suarez: mackey was diagnosed with dementia when he was just 60. his wife believes a career in the nfl left him with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or
cte, a degenerative brain disease. she became convinced of this as john declined and when she noticed more and more former nfl players expressing similar mental illness. >> every year, he would go back to the hall of fame ceremony, and every year that i went back, i noticed that more and more players-- and these were hall of fame guys-- had dementia. this was after he was diagnosed and i was so taken aback by it. so i said, there's something wrong with this picture. there's too much of a common thread in this small group." and i said, "out of 260 players, if i can see four or five who have been diagnosed and i'm hearing about others who seem that they will need to be diagnosed in the future, then there are plenty of retired players out there who must have it." >> suarez: yesterday, the house judiciary committee went looking
for answers from the nfl, its players union, and medical professionals. specifically, chairman john conyers wanted to know if the league was ready to accept a connection between its game and severe brain disease. >> commissioner godell, is there a link between playing professional football and the likelihood of contracting a brain related injury such as dementia, alzheimer's, depression, or cte? >> you are seeing a lot of data as to the linkage, and the medical experts should be the one to continue that debate. our bottom line is we are not waiting for that debate to continue. we want to make sure our game is safe, and we are doing everything we possibly can for our players now. >> i have just asked you a simple question. what is the answer?
>> the medical experts would know better than i would with respect to that, but we are not treating that in any way in delaying anything that we do. we are re-enforcing the safest... >> okay, i have heard it. >> suarez: the chairman and several other committee members were frustrated by the league's skepticism in the face of medical research showing lasting brain damage with concussions and other head trauma in football. one recent study, commissioned by the nfl and conducted by the university of michigan, found that 6% of retired nfl players over 50 years old reported a diagnosis of dementia, alzheimer's, or another memory related disease. that finding, compared to a less than a 2% figure in u.s. men of a similar age, drew headlines and prompted this congressional inquiry. the report's author, however, was careful not to draw a direct link from football to dementia. >> those numbers may or may not indicate an elevated risk from a career playing football.
we can't draw a conclusion, and no responsible scientist would do so. >> suarez: but other doctors say the signs are clear. >> none of my colleagues have ever seen a case of cte without a history of head trauma... >> suarez: neurologist dr. ann mckee is studying the brains of former footballers at boston university. is there a way that we can draw a straight line from somebody's career in the nfl with the problems they are having as a 45-year-old? >> what we have seen in all of these players is a trauma- induced disease; it is caused by trauma. and so, i don't think there is any question about what has caused the disease in these players. most of them got most of their trauma during the nfl years, and i think it is time to actually recognize that and not bury that data with excuses that it might be something else. >> suarez: the committee also heard testimony from several former players. merril hoge enjoyed a long career as an nfl running back
until a series of concussions lead him to quit. >> i will say this: there has been significant changes in the national football league. based on the nfl and the nflpa, what happened to me would not happen in the national football league today. that does not mean we are all the way there. we are on our way. >> suarez: repeated injuries ended ralph wenzel's pro football career, too. diagnosed with cognitive impairment in 1999, he now has full-blown dementia. three years ago his wife, dr. eleanor profetto, could no longer care for him. >> i know that he doesn't want to live the way that he lives. and i know that he doesn't want to see anyone else live that way, either. >> suarez: now, she's urging the league to admit it is facing a crisis. >> it's very frustrating that the nfl denies that the evidence is there, that they deny there is a relationshi i think it's disrespectful of the players, it's disrespectful of the families that are going through this. it's bad and endangers young
people, young students, student athletes who are playing football now. i think the nfl really needs to step up and take a very proactive role. >> suarez: the head of the player's union is demaurice smith. >> we are committed to getting the right answers, to work with everyone who has the goal of protecting our players, and to serve as a model for football at every level. we've done a tremendous job in outlawing hits on a defensive player, cutting down on helmet- to-helmet contact, doing a better job of players who do get injured, how we respond to those players on the field, following up on the medical technology of how long they need to be out of the game after they've suffered a concussion. >> suarez: in fact, the nfl changed that rule only two years ago. since 2007, no player knocked unconscious in a game can return to that game. the eagles star running back, brian westbrook, took a knee to
the head in monday night's game and was out. his coach calls him "hopeful" for sunday. but dr. mckee worries that players are returned to the field too quickly. >> my thinking is that you really need to rest that nerve cell, and those nerve cells are very jarred by that experience. and there is all sort of microscopic and metabolic changes that actually go on for weeks after that injury. so, you have a concussion one day, and six weeks out, your nerve cells are still slightly unsettled. it's not really back to its resting state. and if you are injured a second time while you are already in this sort of limbo state, the consequences are much greater. >> suarez: by the end of the hearing, the nfl agreed to share its research into concussions more widely, including the results of the michigan study next year. for sylvia and john mackey, that step is welcome. >> football is dangerous; it's not going to go away. they just need to be prepared.
and people choose to do it, you choose to do it, nobody makes you do it. so, they need to provide for the unusual maladies... the usual maladies that are unusual that go along with playing the sport, you know what i mean. >> suarez: thanks to the mackeys, the nfl does provide $88,000 per year for care to the 70 former pros actually diagnosed with mental impairments-- $88,000 in honor of john's jersey number, 88. >> who did you play for? did you play for the baltimore who? baltimore...? >> colts. right! that's right. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: the government reported the economy grew in the year's third quarter for the first time in more than a year. wall street reacted with a rally-- the dow jones industrial average gained 200 points.
house democrats unveiled their health reform plan. they said it would extend coverage to millions of people, and cost about $900 billion over ten years. and iran responded to a u.n. plan for sending uranium to russia for processing. but there was no indication the iranians would agree fully to that idea. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening with secretary of state clinton, plus mark shields and david brooks, among others. i'm jim lehrer. thank you and good night. major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by:
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